Plum Island Animal Disease Center Closing?

As reported in the Kansas City Business Journal, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has signed off on a transfer with the state of Kansas to acquire a 46-acre site north of Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. The site is slated to be turned into a National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility and, if built, it would replace the aging Animal Disease Center structure on Plum Island.

Missouri Senator Pat Roberts says that construction should begin immediately, with a groundbreaking expected for later this year. The Manhattan site was selected as Plum Island’s replacement in 2008, but development was delayed by the economic downturn.

Despite anxiety to see the facility built in the heartland, the announcement does not necessarily spell doom and gloom for Plum Island and the 100 local jobs it provides. Oliver Longwell, a spokesperson for Congressman Tim Bishop, confirmed that the transfer is expected, but money to build the new facility is not in the budget for fiscal year 2013. Bishop has consistently advocated that building a new NBAF, which is expected to cost more than $1 billion, is too excessive in today’s economic climate. He will urge Congress to look into a more cost-effective solution and also request that there be no funding for the new facility in the fiscal year 2014 budget, which comes out in February.

In other news, fans of the Montauk Monster are questioning whether similar beasts would begin appearing in Middle America after the move.

Read the entire Kansas City Business Journal article here.

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